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 Save Money by Freezer Blocking

Freezer blocking is a method that may save you money with your household freezer.

With the fall weather upon us people are starting to put away the excess bounty of their garden. Vegetables that freezer with lid open have not already been consumed need to be stored for the winter months. Once you have  packaged your vegetables they will have to be stored in a cold environment that is below their freezing point and at a low humidity level. A basement cold storage room is the most economical method. It uses the winter temperatures to keep foods cold. Unfortunately its downside is that the temperature cannot be regulated. For most people an economical alternative is a small household chest. But if you invest in a freezer is it economical to operate it when only partially full? Freezer blocking is a possible answer for this problem.

Freezer blocking
Basically, freezer blocking is filling up the unused space inside the freezer. The theory is, the less air inside the freezer the less electricity will be required to freeze the food.  Anything that lowers the internal volume of the freezer will cause the compressor to spend less time keeping the interior cold. It would be equivalent to having a smaller freezer.

boxes of insulationTo do this cardboard boxes, called “blockers”, are placed inside the freezer. These boxes are filled with insulation. Any form of insulation will work, but basic household wall insulation (fiberglass) is most commonly used. It's both inexpensive and easily obtained. An alternative are the insulating peanuts used for shipping and packaging. Others suggest filling the boxes with old newspapers. Newspapers would work but the insulation value would be far less than the fiberglass method. Also the newspaper would pick up moisture and become extremely heavy to lift.

Whatever is used the boxes should be completely filled, and then sealed and taped shut. You do not want insulation mixing openly with food products. Also boxes of varied sizes work best because they allow you to fill up the open spaces better. If the freezer is only half full then place the boxes either at the bottom of the freezer or all to one side. This way you have easier access to the food during the winter. Placing the boxes on top will be frustrating because you will have to remove them every time you want to get to the food.

An alternative method is to add containers of water to the freezer. Partially filled containers – remember water expands about 10% when frozen. This is not true freezer blocking. Rather it is a method called heat sinking. Containers of water added to the freezer will themselves freeze into blocks of ice. Every time the freezer shuts off the cold stored inside the ice blocks will help keep the food frozen. The ice should slow down the natural heat transfer between the freezer walls and the food. The colder the freezer interior the less the cold control will turn on the compressor. Although heat sinking is good in theory I am not convinced this method really saves money.

With freezer blocking the idea is to make the freezer operate less. The less it operates the less electricity it will consume. How much can be saved by these methods has not been properly tested. The best estimate is that it could save you 5% to 15% per year.

But then, that’s a pretty good saving for an hour of your time, and some cardboard boxes full of insulation.


 By Donald Grummett

Copyright © 2005 Donald Grummett. All rights reserved

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